Rassegna Esteri

Heat or Eat; that is the question?

Mehr News – No, we didn’t get the headline wrong! This is not Yemen or the Gaza Strip both under an all-out military blockade where food can’t enter like in other parts of the world. A community worker with 20 years of experience told British state media “we have people who are eating pet food. [There are] people who are trying to heat their food on a radiator or a candle.”

It’s the United Kingdom with vast amounts of wealth mainly due to its cruel history of colonization. But that wealth is clearly limited to a small percentage of the population. It’s also perhaps the most disturbing and shocking piece of news to emerge from the UK since inflation started to rise as a result of the war in Ukraine.

As London stands accused of stoking unrest and violence in regions way beyond British borders, through various proxy media outlets and other measures, its own people are residing in stone age-style lifestyles.

Inflation and the cost of living, driven by energy and food prices have all increased sharply with inflation now hitting a 41-year record high. Heating or eating is the question being asked. 

Mark Seed, who runs a food bank in Cardiff, told British state media (BBC) that people are working “every hour they can” and still struggling to afford to buy food. “These are shocking kinds of stories that are actually the truth,” he added.

Buying pet food to get by is one part of the equation. Using a candle to heat it is a shameful badge for which the British government will be remembered in the years and decades to come.

Consecutive governments in Downing Street have done little to nothing to alleviate the suffering of their own people during this period of economic hardship.

Studies show the larger group of middle-class families are struggling the most to heat or eat, with the latest government budget going after that middle of the social hierarchy while the rich continue to live a lavish lifestyle unaffected by the dire humanitarian crisis.

Seed, who works with the ‘Your Local Pantry’ project, which supplies food in more than 80 neighborhoods in the UK at low prices, says he is “shocked” by how much people were struggling.

He said “we have people who are eating pet food. [There are] people who are trying to heat their food on a radiator or a candle. Cardiff is a flourishing city however there are pockets of deprivation which are simply not acceptable” he said.

He describes an “arc of poverty” from the east to the west of Cardiff saying his customers were “working every hour they can” just to afford the essentials, but the rising cost of living makes this difficult.

The scale of the disparity between rich and poor shows that middle-class income workers are quickly diminishing in numbers. This is essentially the same group that the Chancellor of the Exchequer went after in his Autumn statement. 

Seed said the wages people are getting are not enough to afford the most basic essentials, with the cost-of-living crisis pushing prices way up “so that everybody is squeezed or they just can’t afford it”.

“What they are telling us is that they are working every hour they can,” he pointed out. The Pantry offers good quality food at budget prices for over 160 members.

With British people facing a cost-of-living crisis, recent figures showed inflation exceeding expectations to hit a new 41-year high of 11.1 percent, and experts have warned that the worst is yet to come.

Rising food and energy costs are major contributors to the surge. Sanctions on Russian energy exports, which Europe relied on for about 40 to 50 percent of its supplies have backfired.

New inflation figures show the price of staple household items such as butter, meat, milk, bread, and cheese increased by up to 42 percent last month, the highest rate for over 20 years. 

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has estimated that the average UK household is now forking out just under 90 percent more for heating and lighting than last year.

Seed added that ‘people who are in those positions of poverty would be the first to tell you that it’s not easy to have a voice, it’s not easy to have your dignity and show yourself as someone who counts and unless you do that no-one is going to listen.’

This comes as the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), says 34 percent of children in Wales live in poverty. Among the four countries of the UK, Wales has the highest number of children in relative income poverty.

But poverty rates are rising across the country. Requests for financial help in the southwestern port city of Plymouth have risen by 235% in the last year.

The Association of Optometrists has warned that people are risking their vision because they can’t afford eye tests and new glasses.

Optometrists say patients are choosing not to update their prescriptions – despite needing vision correction – because of the cost of switching their lenses.

According to a new survey by the education charity the Sutton Trust, more children in England cannot afford lunch, lack warm clothing, and struggle to concentrate in class. 

Peter Lampl is the chairman of the Sutton Trust and he says “It’s a scandal that in one of the world’s richest countries growing numbers of children are going without basics such as food and warm clothing.

“The facts are stark and shaming,” adding that, “it’s a fact that children who arrive at school hungry have difficulty learning.”

The charity has denounced the government for ignoring widespread pleas to expand eligibility for free school meals in its November budget.

This is as the UK faces a wave of strike action this winter, with at least one walkout a day ahead of Christmas, as workers from different industries are seeking better pay in line with rising inflation. 

From the National Health Service to transport, and education to delivery drivers, tens of thousands of people from various industries are expected to take industrial action, ahead of Christmas and the new year, causing widespread disruption, as the recession grips the UK.

Union officials say the government is cutting jobs and refusing to increase pay in line with inflation, forcing them to take industrial action.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing are set to strike in December for the first time ever following the government’s failing to commit to formal pay negotiations after a five-day deadline ended in November.

There are growing calls for coordinated strike action, among different unions, next month, as frustration grows against the government’s refusal to negotiate better pay and working conditions. 

The outlook spells grim news for British households with economists saying the worst is still to come as inflation is yet to peak and the Bank of England is widely expected to hike interest rates next year to record levels adding more pressure to homeowners.

If you are planning to migrate and settle in the UK, some travel advice: stock up on plenty of pet food and candles, you may need them in the future, or choose a different destination. 

Mostra altro

Articoli correlati

Lascia un commento

Back to top button

IlFaroSulMondo.it usa i cookies, anche di terze parti. Ti invitiamo a dare il consenso così da proseguire al meglio con una navigazione ottimizzata. maggiori informazioni

Le attuali impostazioni permettono l'utilizzo dei cookies al fine di fornire la migliore esperienza di navigazione possibile. Se continui ad utilizzare questo sito web senza cambiare le tue impostazioni dei cookies o cliccando "OK, accetto" nel banner in basso ne acconsenterai l'utilizzo.